Nordstream II (Electric Instapundit)

Bloody damnation. This has been spicy.

Had an interesting picture come over my e-mail transom this morning, but first: a pictorial explanation of the most common ways a hydrate plug ruptures a pipeline:


That’s from the 1994 edition of CAPP Guidelines for the Prevention and Safe Handling of Hydrates, Canadian Assn. of Petroleum Producers, in case you were wondering.

Anyhoo, the picture in question is actually a map:

Anyone notice anything interesting about the ruptures at 02:03 hours and 19:03 hours?

Assuming that the map accurately represents the course of the pipelines; and assuming that the map accurately represents the location of the ruptures … wah-ho, isn’t that interesting, as Dear Old Dad would say?

Even more interesting is this little tidbit, also via email. Russia was having compressor “issues” on Nord 1, enough that the whole sodding compressor station was “shut down” and a “hazardous production facility”.

Is anyone else getting the twitchies regarding the fact that at least some of the equipment that keeps the pipeline pressurised was off-line? Just me? Oh, well then. Carry on.

Moving on — multiple sources have confirmed that Nord 2 was full of natural gas; that it was full for at least months; and that said natural gas had never moved.

It. Just. Sat. There. For — allegedly — months.

During normal operations of a pipeline, you run a pig through fairly regularly. A “pig” is a bit of equipment pushed by the gas flow, and as it moves along it shoves water and hydrate slurry down to where it can be removed; and it scrapes compounds off the inside walls (hydrogen sulphide, I’m looking at you) that might be are probably eating your pipe.

Note the part above where the pigs are pushed by the gas. The gas in Nordstream 2 never moved. That means no pig ever went down the line to shove water out, move hydrate slurry, or stop H2S from corroding the steel of the pipeline.

As I said in the previous post — and I will continue to say — none of this rules out intentional Acts of War. There are idiots enough in that region that sabotage can’t be discounted.

How-some-ever … hydrate plugs. 

With that being said, this sudden publicity is really freaking me out, so I’m probably going dark for a few days. I’ve got writing to do, fish to catch, and maybe a deer trail or two to scout.

Y’all have fun.



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109 thoughts on “Nordstream II (Electric Instapundit)”

  1. When I was younger (back when Ford was President) I remember how some of the older homes would have water hammering in the pipes. The 1/2 inch pipes would rattle, and it sounded as though someone was striking the side of the house with a hammer. That was 60 psi and water. Considering the Nord Stream is 48 inches of diameter, pressure is 3600 psi, and what rattles around is a semi-frozen slug of hydrates, I’m assuming the forces involved are probably enough to split steel pipe.

    I might be wrong, but after experiencing a tiny split in an 18 inch pipe, with 1200 psi natural gas, damn near burn up an offshore platform , after it shook it like a boat collision, I don’t think I am.

    1. I calculated the kinetics of a 1 ton hydrate plug. With just 10 bar pressure difference it will reach a terminal velocity of 450m/s in just half a second, carries energy equivalent to 24kg of TNT and exerts 30,000kN oder 3000 tons of sideway force going around a 10m radius bend, and thats the plug alone. Behind it you have 66kg of gas per Meter pipeline or 660kg per 10m, bringing it up to 5000 tons. With a larger bend radius the plug becomes less of a problem, but the has itself dominates the force, having 6600kg of gas in a 100m bend causing the same force as 660kg in a 10m bend.

      If there is no slight bend, the hydrate plug will smash into the wall, releasing its energy with the equivalent of said 20-30kg of TNT into the pipe, and with the gas column moving behind it coming to a sudden halt, you can get up to hundred of kg of TNT-equivalent being released inside the pipeline. Thats not good.

  2. Could the 17 hours between incidents be due to someone in a control room seeing the first explosion and thinking, “Oh, shit, we have to do something (anything?!) so it doesn’t happen to the other line!) and then taking some ill considered, panicked action which then precipitated the second one?

        1. }}} And California is a well managed state.

          Well, it IS, if your goal is to manage to destroy it.

          The question is, what ARE their ACTUAL motives?

    1. I was thinking that the first pipe blew something into the second pipe when I looked at the map.

    2. That is certainly possible. But it could simply be a common mode failure. Two pipelines under similar conditions will fail in similar ways in similar time frames.

      1. Like all of my bulbs failing at the same time because I replace them at the same time because they fail at the same time because… 🙂

  3. What are the environmental effects of the pipeline exploding and polluting the area? Because we have NATO allies who fish in the area.

    I doubt the Obama cabal running Fraudident Joe* would be that stupid/foolish enough to tick off our allies’ food supply.

    Wars end. As evil as Putin is, it isn’t in his or his ideal of a Neo-Imperial Russia to sabotage a difficult to repair money maker.

    Accident from poor maintenance (just look at Russia’s army) is the best bet.

    Next is who benefits from higher energy prices and higher food prices? Or more exactly, whose agenda benefits from scarcer energy and food? The World Economic Forum’s agenda.

    1. Shouldn’t be much. Gas will rise and seek the easiest rise, then go airborne.

      The initial shock probably killed quite a few of anything near by, but the shock shouldn’t have much effect past, what, 500′ radius of the blast column (like a torpedo explosion, most of the shock will go straight up, which is why modern torps are designed to go under a ship and blow up and crack the spine.)

    2. If you happen to be in a boat above the gas bubble plume you will sink, because the water/gas mixture is much less dense than your boat. But once the bubbling stops and the wind dissipates the gas cloud, you’re fine.

    3. Of course, blame it on Obama and Biden. By the way, they’re also responsible for World War II, the holocaust, the earth being flat, sabotaging the election and let’s not forget kidnapping kids to drink their blood. You are quite the idiot. I think you would be helped by sucking on something. Have a great day

  4. @Roy: IOW, The Goodski Idea Fairski strikes again!

    OK, show of hands: How many read “Nordstream II, The Electric Boogaloo”? That’s what I thought.

  5. How does your hydrate theory jive with the Swedish measurements indicating large seismic events?

    1. 48″ pipeline at 3600 PSI rupturing is a Big Bada-boom. Although the measured 2.something on the Richter scale is also pretty small.

      1. You could sit at the epicenter of a magnitude 2 earthquake and not feel a thing.

      2. Oooh oooh ooooh, raises hand frantically. Practically everyone in Las Vegas has watched this video. Every window in Henderson got blown out. Windows were blown out to about….ummm 15 miles away? But no buildings fell except maybe part of the plant itself. And it’s about 3.0 to 3.5

    2. The pressure in those pipes is about 17% higher than in the main combustion chamber of the RS-25 (Space Shuttle/SLS) rocket engines. A rupture is going to show up as a seismic event, especially underwater (non compressible fluid)…

    3. I calculated that from the equations for boiler explosions: Just 8 cubic meters of gas at 120 bar expanding into 7 bar environment has an energy of 30kg of TNT, equivalent to a 2,2 magnitude on the Richter scale. How much you measure on land depends on the proximity to the sea floor and amount of silt, you can check my twitter feed @pavel23 for references with tables of a hundred+ explosions of different size in water and the seismic network response.

      1. Why couldn’t a remotely piloted vehicle or a diver be sent to bring back video evidence of the direction of force on the walls of the pipe – interior or exterior?

        1. Probably because there aren’t/weren’t any in the area immediately. We’re all troubleshooting an event underwater half a world away, with a couple of measurements that are far from conclusive.

          Eventually there will be photographic evidence of what happened. That eventuality is not (yet) publicly “Now”.

          1. Also they’ll probably have to wait for the gas to stop bubbling out as that can cause flotation issues.

      2. Steam tends to be more energetic when rapidly released than natural gas as it expands more.

        You can look up the formula for pneumaticly testing lines, it will give you the stored energy of a gas under pressure in tons of TNT equivalent. There is a reason the piping (vs pipeline) code allows no more than 1.1 times MAWP for air test but allows upto 1.5 times for hydrotesting.

      3. If a methane hydrate plug formed under pressure has that pressure suddenly released, does it then instantly sublimate? I’m thinking in terms of pulling the cap off a hot radiator, and having the contents instantly boil.

  6. Joe doesn’t have the nuts to blow anything up.

    But Vlad does.

    And nobody else can.

    Conclusion is obvious, and lets Vlad do whatever he wants while blaming Joe, since it was Vlad’s pipeline and all the LIVs will naturally absolve him.

    1. That’s just silly.

      “Vlad blew up his leverage over Europe. Because he’s an evil mastermind.”

      That argument cannot be advanced with a straight face.

      Was it an accident?

      But the analysis has a tough row to hoe when the President of the US makes recorded public threats about destroying the pipeline, the US famously destroyed the USSR’s Trans-Siberian pipeline, and the US military conducted an exercise at the site of the branch just before the explosions.
      Especially after the “leaders” of the Western world have been cheerfully promising to freeze and starve their own citizens, and the debacle of Afghanistan, it becomes difficult to make a categorical statement of “they can’t possibly be that depraved”.


      Joe Biden is being blamed, because he beat his chest and promised to blow up the pipelines.
      Based on his history, he was probably just being a foolish braggart. He has a long track record of being both a fool and a braggart, and usually both together.
      But it’s kind of hard to accept that when people are going to die, and he’s volunteered to be responsible.

      1. Understand that it is not about money… it’s about politics.

        Vlad cares more about winning than he does about the living standards of the Russian people – or even whether they live at all, if you look at how many poorly-trained and armed conscripts he is sending into the Ukrainian meatgrinder.

        Media-hype to the contrary, the Germans are not about to collapse and on the verge of surrendering. It is quite possible that Vlad would be weighing economic leverage against the opportunity to drive a political wedge between the US and its NATO allies.

        1. It must be great to be able to read minds. Especially when the subject is 5000 miles away. How do you sort out
          Putin’s emanations specifically from the 10s of millions of people between you and him? My hat is off to you!

          1. Willie…

            Don’t you think that there might be some clues to Putin’s state of mind from what he does?

            Actions speak louder than words, and all that.

            Same critique might also be applied to people claiming to know Biden’s motivation. Fair ?

      2. Of all the sad but true statements I have seen on the internet this is the one that it is saddest that it is true:
        “it becomes difficult to make a categorical statement of “they can’t possibly be that depraved”.”

    2. Why not blame Joe? He and his buddy, Obama, have been blaming Vlad and Trump for every bad decision that they have made. Now it is Joes turn in the barrel!

      1. If you want to conduct a lynching, go right ahead.

        If you want to get it RIGHT, sometimes that means the idiot gets acquitted.

    3. Israel’s pipeline to Europe might get a more favorable climate now. Few know what they’re capable of.

    4. I have seen references that the pipelines are at 70m depth. That’s not exactly the dark side of the moon, doesn’t require a nation-state to access those pipes, particularly if they were in a trench and not buried. 70m is deep for amateur divers but not for commercial divers experienced with Trimix and with topside support. Underwater cutting charges are commercially available.

      4 guys from Gdańsk with a fishing boat, the right experience and a couple cases of beer could have done this over a weekend or less.

    1. The shock waves from the first rupture could have easily disrupted unstable equilibria which could cause a cluster of events…

    2. Same conditions. Same people making the same bad decisions.

      Isn’t expecting different results from the same bad choices, a little weird?

    3. I admit up front I am out of my areas of expertise here, but I would guess that if this was an accident triggered by some action taken by the pipeline operators there is a very good chance that whatever action was taken may not be something that can be shut off like flipping a light switch. What they did may have set processes in motion that were beyond their control and that led to the second explosion.

    4. who says it wasn’t once? timed charges planted at the same time. everyone keeps saying “they couldn’t come back for the second one because of all of the attention in the area”. but with timed charges you can plant once, boom twice. (note: I personally favor the “Russian maintenance strikes again” theory, but when I see a flaw in an argument I will point it out. The time difference is not a valid objection against the sabotage theory, imo)

      1. rmh…
        It’s not just the idea of hanging about to plant or set off a second/third/fourth charge that has problems.

        The longer that you delay setting off subsequent charges, the longer that other people have to find your devices. I know that 17 hours is not an enormous window when it comes to deploying submersible drones for inspection purposes, but it is still a potential point of failure that any competent planner will take into account.

  7. This makes a lot of sense to me, especially the part about the pipeline pig. If it’s true, then this is just more Russian incompetence.

  8. Then there’s the other possibility – a combination of both….

    Employee knows that someone will get blamed anyway for first incident at 0200, despite it being from gross negligent handling in the Russian tradition, and just happens to be reserve recall or draft age.

    They deliberately mess with the controls before they get off work between 1800 & 1900, and use the confusion to make a run for the Finnish border to avoid conscription.

    Hell, the timing where both events happen 3 minutes after the hour might even mean that one shift did it as a distraction as they fled the country for incident 1, then another shift did incident 2 to cover their escape, not wanting to take the fall for the earlier shift’s first incident.

    In some ways it makes me think of the jihadi actions that triggered WWIII in Red Storm Rising, but with other motivations (like avoiding (re)conscription) and the ability to run to the hills during the chaos.

    It would be interesting if the FSB is busy looking for employees that disappeared shortly before the incidents, but I doubt we’d ever hear of it.

    1. If the FSB stays true to tradition, they’ll just pick someone at random, beat them into confessing, and proclaim it to the world.

    2. I’m guessing that pipeline workers are exempt. You don’t find those on trees.

    3. I thought the Finns closed their borders to Russians, even draft dodgers.

  9. “What are the environmental effects of the pipeline exploding and polluting the area?”
    None. If you read the original post, methane hydrates are common in the sea floor of the Baltic. So there will be constant methane release. If it wasn’t a problem before, there won’t be a problem now.

  10. A hydrate plug requires a force to move it. Whether it be fast or slow.

    My understanding is that the gas velocity in the pipeline was zero. So what was the motive force moving the plug? Unless either the Germans or Russians were draining the pipeline and creating a pressure differential.

    I don’t dismiss this. But more data is needed as to the transient conditions in the pipelines.

    1. As anyone with familiarity with firearms, or basic physics knows, when you have a lot of pressure (3000+psi) on just one side of the obstruction, it tends to move..

      It’s not about the gas flow rate ,,, it’s about differential pressures.

    2. Pipeline was at 3000psi approx and at the time of the incident they had the pressure on the Russian end down to 80 bar (1160psi ) according to the Russians and then dropped to 4 bar shortly after explosion. That would be close to water pressure.

      If you have 3000psi on one side and 1160 on the other side it will move.

      Media briefly reported initial pressure of 800 bar then corrected it to 80 next day.

  11. Are the locations elbows, as diagrammed?
    Wht would a “plug” move towards a closed valve?

      1. Momentum with enough force to overcome the increasing compression on the closed side.
        I know. In a vaccujm a feather and an anvil fall at the same rate of acceleration.

  12. A lot of sources suggest NS 2’s “B” pipeline is still intact and capable of transmitting gas. To me that adds a good bit more credence to your theory considering saboteurs would likely have taken out all 4 pipes, rather than just 3 out of 4.

    Whether it escapes a rupture in the future due to negligence remains to be seen.

  13. The hydrate theory seems to require a high volume (high velocity) gas flow in the pipe. How does this jive with the reported shut-in status of NS2?

    1. No.

      It’s not about flow-rate. It’s about pressure.
      3000psi on one side of the plug, and approaching 32psi on the other.

      That’s how guns work.

  14. I am shocked by these two articles adressing the maintenance failures as the causé of the exlosions. But there are two facts wich don’t match with this hypothesis:
    1) under de sea surface there are not the necesary oxygen for a methane explosion.

    2) the Western autorities don’t take advantage denouncing this catastrophe as due to Russian incompetence.

    1. Not a chemical “flame” explosion.
      It is a pressure wave, explosive like.

      Roughly .
      Entire pipe , 200 miles long, is at 3,600 psi.
      In the middle a large ice plug forms. On either side pressure remains at 3,600 psi.
      Fine. Stable.
      On Russian side, at far Russian end a leak occurs. Say at a compressor valve station.
      Pressure drops.
      On German side of ice plug, pressure is still at 3,600 psi. Hundred miles of pipe. Millions of square meters in volume.
      The ice plug holds it back.
      On Russian side pressure drops to ????
      Plug gives way. Weighs hundreds to thousand kilos.
      Accelerates towards Russia at ???? Speed. Maybe hundreds klm/ hour.
      Hits bend In pipe like a tractor trailer hitting a garbage can.
      No Hollywood flame explosion. But large hydrologic bang.

      1. Russia reporyed pressure on there end was 80 bar at time of explosion.

    2. Anselmo..

      You don’t have facts, you have suppositions.

      1. You are ignoring the physics of 2000 pounds of ice travelling at 2-300 kph, and hitting a bend. Oxygen is not required.

      2. Politicians and media are hyperfocused on the sabotage theory. They -particularly the media – are as reluctant to listen to reason as you are.

      1. Politicians know about as much about the science of this stuff as I do: very little. Media know less. Chemistry? Physics? PSI? KPH? Not part of the curriculum. It’s so much easier to focus on sabotage because it fits with what liberal arts people can understand. Me included.

    3. You assume that there’s a single politician on the west capable of telling methane from methadone.

    4. Just like a Coke can bursts in the freezer if left in, no oxygen required for the expansion to burst the pipe

      1. People are keyed into the word ‘explosion’ as something or created by oxygen fire.

        In this case, it is what people in industry call ‘rapid unscheduled disassembly.’ As in really rapid. Like a hydraulic hose exploding under extreme pressure. No fire, no air, still a very big boom. Or an air cylinder blowing up when under too much pressure. Big bada boom. Still no fire, just lots and lots of pressure.

        1. The official term when reporting these incidents to government regulators is ‘loss of primary containment’ or LOPC for short.

  15. I’ve found these articles very interesting and they comport with the physics I understand from some early work alongside Bridgeline Gas back in the 90s. Everyone needs to understand that doing much of anything in a gas line is like trying to stop an oil tanker. You can decide to do it, know what to do and that it has to happen, but not be able to do it for hours and hours.

  16. More and more I’m coming to the conclusion this makes as much sense as anything else postulated. The sheer distance between leak points makes sabotage unlikely to me.

  17. There you go again with those pesky facts… And yes, the blowout WOULD show up as a ‘seismic’ event. It would be a sharply rising ‘spike’ with a fairly quick tail, and not repeat.

  18. If folks remember their 1930’s history, whenever the crushing inefficiency of the Soviet State would cause the inevitable problems, the Soviets would blame it on sabotage by ‘Wreckers’. The Checka would find some poor sod and beat them until they confessed to the crime, then put them up for a show trial.
    And sadly, in various free nations like the USA or Great Britain, the various Communist useful idiots and dupes would swallow and regurgitate the Party Line, because they just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) believe that there were any problems in Stalin’s Glorious Worker’s Paradise.
    And here we are again.

  19. Some of us are forgetting that the interests of Russian rulers are not those of the Russian people.

    Putin wants to win – politically in in Ukraine. The Russian people have endured a lot, they can endure more. Rebuilding his economy can come later

    1. It’s old Russian tradition from the Boyars to the Aristocrats to the Nomenklatura to the Oligarchs.

  20. First, I really appreciate the first article and now this one. Something that I had never considered . I am so used to gas being dried before it leaves the field via either molecular sieve or methanol dehydrators. Same with other impurites such as CO2 (more corrosive than H2S), H2S, nitrogen, and NGL’s. While NGL’s enhance BTU value, they have a better market price as separated into components. Nitrogen is remove in a cryo unit, much like air is separated into nitrogen, oxygen and argon, but in this case only methane and nitrogen.

    Russia being Russia, operations and maintenance issues are always likely.

  21. OK. I’m almost there on the hydrate plug. Just one more issue.

    If there is a differential pressure in a gas line, it means that gas is flowing in the direction of the lower pressure. So if the Russian compressors went down and the pressure on there end of the line dropped, it would mean that there was back flow in the line. This would lower the pressure on their side of the hydrate plug until it was dislodged and caused the rupture.

    That makes sense. However, this scenario would seem to suggest that the Russians were venting a lot of gas. Even with a compressor failure, it seems they could have just shut in the line and prevented back flow. Perhaps there was some other failure that would not allow them to do this. Were there any reports of venting?

    Are you sure about the timing of the reported pressure drop by the Russians. Could their reports of pressure drop just be from the actual failure of the line?

    What am I missing? Just trying to figure it out.

    1. In many ways I’m as much in the dark as you are, but the mechanics of firing a big ice bullet down a pipe depend on pressure, not gas flow.

      Once the pressure on one side has been dropped enough, shutting it off does not restore equilibrium, it only prevents it from dropping further.

      So you still have a moving bullet, with more pressure behind it than in front of it, so it will keep accelerating in the direction of the lesser pressure.

      If it goes far enough without hitting an obstruction, it can reach a point where pressures are equal due to compression of the gas in front, and expansion of the gas behind …. but it is still moving with a lot of momentum so the pressure in front will continue to rise and can spike well above safe working pressures.

      Keep in mind, also, that the gas itself has both weight and inertia, so actions taken a hundred or more kilometres away may take considerable time to have the desired result. Time you may not have.

      It’s a bit like a runaway train. You can turn off the engine, but you don’t have working brakes and there is a corner coming…..

      There are probably things that I’ve missed.
      Cheers…. 🙂

      1. When the pressure drops on one side of the pipe, that is a gas flow. Maybe unintended but the gas is flowing.
        What is the radius on these supposed elbows?

        1. They don’t say but they would have to be long radius types to allow a pig to navigate them.

    2. The russians may have been deliberatly dropping pressure to try and break down a hydrate. Or it could have been part of a plan to freeze germany.
      The only compressor is on the russian end, the gas on the german end goes through a pressure cut station that drops the pressure to just above the pressure of the high pressure distribution lines, then they drop into the med pressure lines that then drop into local feed lines to homes.

      If the NS pipeline was still at 100bar then Germany could open the valve on their end and draw down the line by allowing it to flow into their system, i’d have to look at german consumption but i suspect that would buy them a week or so of extra heat. If they waited till there own system was really low they could squeak out a bit more.

      If russia thought that germany was planning that they could have preemptively started drawing the lines down to below the german system pressure so thst the german would have no way of doing it.

      I don’t know the distribution pressures in europe but where i work we boost the gas up to 1350psi to put it into the big sales pipeline, at the other end it gets put into a HP distribution line of 1050psi that feeds a 400ish psi system then down to under 100psi to homes where the house meter drops it to a couple pounds or less. I work upstream so don’t quote me on the pressures at the low end.

  22. My son who is in oil&gas (20yrs) says” Hydrates form from wet (non-dehydrated) gas line from an oil platform.

    You wouldn’t send wet gas commercially through an undersea platform because it would freeze almost immediately.

    Russia wouldn’t send gas with H2S in it down this pipeline either. This is commercial gas going to market. Not produced gas. All H2S would have to have been removed. H2S is the most poisonous gas in the world. So there would be no H2S corrosion on the pipe.

    Sorry to whoever this is but these pipelines were Sabotaged. There is no other explanation.

    This guy needs to accept it. Our cia sucks and is up to shenanigans.

    1. Your son is wrong. 30 years of oil and gas wirk in integrity, the sales gas has a ‘spec’, as long as we meet that spec we can send our gas into the 24in sales pipeline we feed. Our spec allows some liquids and even some h2s. Yes h2s is deadly above 40ppm, hence why gas monitors are set at 10ppm. Our spec is 4ppm.

      We have multiple plants feeding to a common sales point. Each plant produces ‘dry’ sales gas and yes we use dehy’s and refrig units to get it dry. By the time the gas leaves the plant and goes to the sales station water drops out. Its on spec when it leaves and it still drops out liquid. We pig everyone of the lines to the sales station weekly and get cubes of water everytime.

      The guys running the 24in sales line pig weekly and get water as well, less than us but they still get it.

      Dry gas still has water in it, you will get drop out and an idle line wil drop more out.

      Now we also have a BTU spec we meet, we take as much of the gas liquids out because they are worth $$. We leave co2 behind as its of no value but too much co2 lowers btu, so then you leave a bit more gas liquids into keep btu on spec. Same with h2s we only take out enough to be on spec anymore cost money.

      Oh and tell the hydrates only form on lines from platforms to westcoast energy. They were a distributor not a producer like gazprom and they destroyeda mainline meter station in the early 90’s firing a hydrate through a compressor. And that was a 20 or 24in line.

      1. So you get m³ of water out every time you pig? So why doesn’t that water form hydrates?

        You meet your spec? What is the water spec?

        I’m with Susan D Harms’s son.

        1. We don’t get hydrates because the line is flowing and we add methanol to the gas.
          7lbs H2O per mmcf.

      2. Exile.
        Valuable information from the practical side, ratger than the theoretical side.

    2. Actually acid gas is due high CO2 not H2S.

      There are a lot of companies here looking for dehydration units for installation in mostly Texas, prefer methanol but some like molecular sieves

  23. Thanks for a interesting and informative post. It is deeply appreciated.

  24. Not to rain on anyone’s parade, and having not read every comment, may I submit that the scale of the map exaggerates the “bends” where detonations or explosions occurred.

  25. Ate those the same Germans saying “no accident”, who periodically blow up parts of ammonium nitrate plants? “Gut alter Hans” using backhoe or dynamite to break free large chunks of fused prills- the Good Idea Fairy should quit taking meth first.

    Could be accident. Could also be someone using shaped charge or EFP to create small holes or weaken walls, then let physics take its course. Maybe the Witch of November is warming up. Only way to know is get data from the ruptures.

  26. Pictures would be helpful. Shouldn’t be too hard to determine
    if the damage was from outside in or inside out.

  27. Okaaaaaaay……..

    British analysts who have been talking to Royal Navy engineers, have mentioned that any modern navy has the kind of acoustic technology that will fire a mine when an specific sound-signature is passing overhead.

    If either of the major players wanted to implicate someone else, then the smart move *might* be to ensure that the pipes explode just as a suitable scapegoat is in the vicinity.

    No more conclusive than any other bit of speculation, but that kind of technology does serve to show how unlikely the “big, dumb, bomb” is…

  28. Interesting and very plausible explanation of how the pipelines could have burst.
    A question remains for me, why there?
    Why in the vicinity of Bornholm, 1,000km from Russia shore and not somewhere else deeper and/or closer to Russia?
    Looking at depth chart for the Baltic,
    the sea around Bornholm is up to 60 to 80m deep. The pipelines then go over a ridge South of Oland that is about 20 to 40m deep, then goes North along the Western side of a depression running North-South with depths up to 160m. The pipeline doesn’t go as deep as 160m, but it does go deeper than 100m. So the deepest low points of the pipeline are several hundred km North of Bornholm.

    So, my question is:
    If the Russians were carelessly/recklessly depressurizing the pipelines from shore in Russia, would they not have been far more likely to cause a pipe burst much further North where the water is deeper and colder?
    If there were hydrate plugs at Bornholm, there were surely plugs near Gotland and elsewhere. Thus if the Russians were carelessly/recklessly depressurizing quickly, then this is where the bursts would be expected?

    This appears to leave two alternatives:
    a) The Russian were depressurizing the pipelines with reasonable care, they managed to depressurize about 1,00km safely before the incident. But perhaps they then became impatient, started to hurry and then caused the incident.
    b) The pipelines were depressurized from the German end, by whom, in what manner and for what purpose?

    1. Depressurisation at the German end is possible, but they are not known for incompetence..

      1. I. Even Germans can make mistakes.

        2. If the lines were depressurized carelessly from the Russian end, how likely is it that there would not have been an incident in the 900km of pipe in deeper waters, that this longer deeper section with 75% of the gas and potential hydrate plugs in more low points could have been carelessly depressurized “safely” (i.e., without incident, albeit in an unsafe manner), but that then the incident occurred in the shorter shallower Bornholm area. I consider hydrate plugs a highly plausible reason for the bursts, but their location, so far from Russia but close to Germany, is troubling.

        3. I will SWAG the relative likelihood for 1 line:
        3 times longer by about 2 times deeper (more hydrate plugs in more low points) compared to the Bornholm section suggests it could be perhaps 6 times more likely to burst in the longer 900km section than the 300 km Bornholm to Germany section, thus 1 in 7 chance to occur in the Bornholm section.

        4. But then for all four all 4 pipelines to burst in the same area?
        P= 0.143 (1 chance in 7)
        P1*P2*P3*P4 = 0.143^4 = 0.04% or 1 in 2,400

        But if we ignore depth and only based the estimate on length
        P is 25%, but for all four in the same area? P^4 = 0.39% or 1 in 256

        4. Either way, those are long odds. Either the Russians were extraordinarily lucky despite their renowned incompetence to clear all the pipelines as far as Bornholm before they inevitably screwed up practically simultaneously on all four lines, or they didn’t do it at all.

        5. I did not use the “s” word in my post, but if hydrate plugs were the cause of the pipe bursts, the location suggests rapid depressurization from the German end is much more likely. Sabotage is not incompetence. But by whom? Surely not the Germans. But a control system hack? Surely not beyond the expertise of certain three letter agencies.

  29. I think that there is a fatal flaw with this theory. Nordstream 2 was commissioned but never operated. To commission a pipeline, you purge it with superdried air and then follow that with nitrogen. The nitrogen stays in the line until you begin operations and replace it with hydrocarbon. If they never operated the line, it would still be full of nitrogen and could not have any hydrate plugs.

    NS wasn’t an operating pipeline. It was brand new and never used, and it’s failure site was remote from other failures.

    1. Apparently they charged NS2 with natural gas. About 300 milion cubic metres of it, if the media is to be believed.

        1. Jeff…
          Please read other comments regarding the Russian tendency to do “odd” things.

          It’s a feature of top-down cultures, when those at the top make all the decisions, but have little skin in the game.
          Add vodka…

          1. Well, this is the country that put graphite moderated reactors with graphite tipped control rods and a positive void coefficient into series production…

            Yaknow, had the pipeline kaboomed exactly one year ago, nobody would be formulating conspiracy theories to explain just another major Russian industrial accident.

    2. Phelps…
      This is about what *was* done, not what *should* have been done.

      Sabotage is against the “rules” too.

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